Saturday, 18 July 2009

Yacht designer Dudley Dix visits clients in Hout Bay

Welcome visitors,from the left,Andrew,Justin and Dudley.

Dudley was on a flying visit to South Africa,so kindly made himself available to meet with two of CKD Boats clients.Andrew is building a 37ft wooden yacht to which we have supplied the plys and epoxies for the boats hull skin,Andrew has been asking about a mast kit based on Dudleys new design ideas,Dudley will design a suitable mast section,we will machine the clear oregon pine timbers and Andrew will build his own mast,saving a huge amount of money but having a top quality and modern looking mast with carbon fibre spreaders.

Justin has an idea to build his own power boat,a gentlemans 40ft long motor cruiser cabable of long passages at an economical speed and fuel consumption.
we have posted pictures of his design on this blog in the past,Dudley will (when time allows) bring Justins ideas to a stage where we can offer the new boat as one of our designs and produce it as a full kit,including the interior.

Friday, 17 July 2009

WW1 1915 that football match

Bertie Felstead,the last man left living from the most famous of football matches died aged 106.

Christmas 1915 World War One

Legend has it that on Christmas Day 1915, soldiers from both sides of the trenches in World War One met up in No-Man’s-Land for a game of football. Nothing official was kept of this brief meeting on Christmas Day between the enemy, so our knowledge of what took place has always been somewhat patchy. However, the death in 2001 of one of the men who took part in this match resurrected memories of the occasion.

Bertie Felstead, the last survivor of that football match, died in July 2001 aged 106 years.

Bertie Felstead, pictured above, remembered the following:

He was a member of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

On Christmas Eve, he was stationed in northern France with his colleagues near the village of Laventie when he heard the Germans in a trench 100 metres away singing “Silent Night”. In reply, the Royal Welch Fusiliers sang “Good King Wenceslas”.

On Christmas Day, after some shouting between both trenches, he and his colleagues got out of their icy trench and greeted the Germans. Bertie Felstead recalled that the Germans probably were already out of their trench before the British got out. He claimed that nothing was planned and that what happened was entirely spontaneous.

A football was produced from somewhere – though he could no re-call from where.

“It was not a game as such – more of a kick-around and a free-for-all. There could have been 50 on each side for all I know. I played because I really liked football. I don’t know how long it lasted, probably half-an-hour, and no-one was keeping score.”

The truce ended when a British major ordered the British soldiers back to their trench with a reminder that “they were there to kill the Hun not to make friends with him.” The mood of Christmas friendliness was shortly broken by the firing of British artillery. Bertie Felstead described the Germans as “all right”.

From a BBC news item:

1914 'football truce' anniversary

Trench warfare had only just begun in 1914
This Christmas is the 90th anniversary of the World War I truce when British troops took on the Germans at football.
The soldiers sang Christmas carols before leaving their trenches to play a match in sub-zero temperatures in no-man's land near Armentieres, France.

The Germans won 3-2, according to some soldiers, and the truce gradually came to an end in the same way it had begun - by mutual consent.

A film inspired by the events entitled Merry Christmas is being planned.

The truce came about during the first winter of the war - not yet dubbed the "Great War".

By the end of 1915 both sides were far too bitter for this to happen again

Andrew Robertshaw
Military historian

Around 40,000 Britons had lost their lives by that stage - a tiny number compared to the body count by 1918.

The British soldiers on the Frelinghien-Houplines sector on the western front were the main allied participants in the Christmas festivities.

French and Belgian troops, who were fighting in the same trenches as the British, were less willing to take part.

By Christmas 1914 they had already lost 400,000 people and parts of both their countries were occupied.

Non-aggressive behaviour

The truce began when German soldiers started to sing Christmas carols.

British troops responded and gradually both sets of soldiers moved out of their trenches and met in no-man's land.

After exchanging stories and gifts, several games of football broke out.

The only result recorded was a 3-2 victory by the Germans, quoted in soldiers' letters from both sides.

On some parts of the front hostilities were officially resumed on Boxing Day at 0830 - ceremonial pistol shots marking the occasion.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Ye Olde Pub in the sky

Franz and Charlie with painter Ernie Boyett center. (

Charlie Brown

Claim: A B-17 damaged on a bombing raid over Germany reached England safely after a German pilot declined to shoot it down.

Status: True.

Examples: [Collected via e-mail, March 2008]

Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.

After flying over an enemy airfield, a pilot named Franz Stigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the
B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere.

Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.

Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to and slightly over the North Sea towards England. He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe.

When Franz landed he told the c/o that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.

More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions.

They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 5 people who are alive now — all because Franz never fired his guns that day.

Research shows that Charlie Brown lived in Seattle and Franz Stigler had moved to Vancouver, BC after the war. When they finally met, they discovered they had lived less than 200 miles apart for the past 50 years!!

Origins: The basic framework of this tale about a memorable act of gallantry in wartime is true: In December 1943, the Ye Olde Pub — a B-17 commanded by 21-year-old Lt. Charles L. "Charlie" Brown — took heavy damage while on a mission to bomb a factory in Bremen, Germany. While attempting to head back to England with a crippled plane and an injured crew, Lt. Brown encountered a German who, rather than shooting down the B-17, instead saluted its crew and disappeared. Nearly fifty years later, Brown located and met up with that German pilot.

Aside from pointing interested readers to a more comprehensive article covering these events (such as the one here), we don't have much to add other than noting that the shortened version of this tale which has circulated widely on the Internet (as reproduced in the "Example" block above) may include some fanciful embellishments intended to heighten the drama of the story:

After flying over an enemy airfield, a pilot named Franz Stigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. ... When Franz landed he told the c/o that the plane had been shot down over the sea.

We couldn't find any account (including those to which the two pilots contributed) that stated German fighter ace Franz Stigler had been dispatched specifically to shoot down Lt. Brown's B-17, or that he afterwards lied to his commanding officer about having shot it down. However, Brown did mention to at least one interviewer that his "heart sank" after he flew directly over a Luftwaffe fighter base, so it's possible Stigler did take to the air with orders to shoot down the B-17.

Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to and slightly over the North Sea towards England.

Again, no other account of this event we've found verified the claim that Lt. Brown's B-17 was lost and flying the wrong way until Franz Stigler helped turn it around. The following excerpts (from two other accounts) both indicate Brown had already headed his B-17 towards England when he noticed Stigler's plane flying alongside him:
It seems amazing that the heavily damaged B-17 remained in the air. But it did, and Brown turned it toward the North Sea, hoping to keep it flying until he reached the shores of England 250 miles away.

Glancing out the cockpit window, Brown saw a German fighter plane, a Messerschmitt 109, flying alongside.

Still partially dazed, Lieutenant Brown began a slow climb with only one engine at full power. With three seriously injured aboard, he rejected bailing out or a crash landing. The alternative was a thin chance of reaching the UK. While nursing the battered bomber toward England, Brown looked out the right window and saw a BF-109 flying on his wing.
Some accounts do state that Stigler "escorted" the B-17 partway across the North Sea before turning back.

Research shows that Charlie Brown lived in Seattle and Franz Stigler had moved to Vancouver, BC after the war. When they finally met, they discovered they had lived less than 200 miles apart for the past 50 years!

Brown and Stigler did finally find each other in 1989 (and eventually met) after Brown placed an advertisement in a newsletter and discovered that Stigler was living in Canada near Vancouver. However, every news article we've found describing the reunion mentioned that since his retirement from the Air Force in 1972, Brown had been living in Miami, not Seattle (which would have put him about 3,500 miles away from Stigler's home):
After the war, Brown remained in the Air Force, serving in many capacities until he retired in 1972 as a lieutenant colonel and settled in Miami as head of a combustion research company. But the episode of the German who refused to attack a beaten foe haunted him. He was determined to find the enemy pilot who spared him and his crew.

He wrote numerous letters of inquiry to German military sources, with little success. Finally, a notice in a newsletter for former Luftwaffe pilots elicited a response from Franz Stigler, a German fighter ace credited with destroying more than two dozen Allied planes. He, it turned out, was the angel of mercy in the skies over Germany on that fateful day just before Christmas 1943.

It had taken 46 years, but in 1989 Brown found the mysterious man in the ME-109. Careful questioning of Stigler about details of the incident removed any doubt.

Stigler, now 80, had emigrated to Canada and was living near Vancouver. After an exchange of letters, Brown flew there for a reunion. The two men have visited each other frequently since that time and have appeared jointly before Canadian and American military audiences. The most recent appearance was at the annual Air Force Ball in Miami in September [1995], where the former foes were honored.

In his first letter to Brown, Stigler had written: "All these years, I wondered what happened to the B-17, did she make it or not?"

She made it, just barely. But why did the German not destroy his virtually defenseless enemy?

"I didn't have the heart to finish off those brave men," Stigler later said. "I flew beside them for a long time. They were trying desperately to get home and I was going to let them do it. I could not have shot at them. It would have been the same as shooting at a man in a parachute."
Franz Stigler passed away on 22 March 2008. Charlie Brown passed away on 24 November 2008.

The whole nine yards,the meaning

An Avro Lancaster fighter bombers tail gun.

A tail gunner or rear gunner is a crewman on a military aircraft who functions as a gunner defending against enemy fighter attacks from the rear, or "tail", of the plane. The tail gunner operates a flexible machine gun emplacement on either the top or tail end of the aircraft with a generally unobstructed view toward the rear of the aircraft. While the term tail gunner is usually associated with a crewman inside a gun turret, tail gun armaments may also be operated by remote control from another part of the aircraft.

A more recent assertion is that twenty-seven feet was the standard length of a machine-gun belt, and that firing off the entire round was shooting "the whole nine yards." This is sensible in a number of ways- -the military is often a source for expressions of this type; it makes perfect semantic sense; the phrasing is reasonable. Most machine-gun belts were less than twenty-seven feet, unfortunately, and of course this phrase is not found specifically associated with this theory until very recently.

This one seems to be challenged but I have found enough evidence to suggest that this term came from the rear gunner on a Lancaster Bomber in WW2 using an entire clip belt when being attacked from behind,the clip belt was nine yards long.Reference is also made to a batch of concrete being nine yards,another and very probable link is the Yard on a Tall Ship that was Square Rigged had a Yard that was nine yards long...........we have our choices!


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A trip to Diablo Island

We were more than keen to explore when we reached Devils Ilse off the coast of French Guiana,the story of Papillon had been read and seen as a film,was it true,could it be true? It takes very little time when looking around to see the truth of its all,here are some more pictures to back it up.

Linda Ronstadt,its her birthday today!

Linda Living in the USA.

Lindas Silk Purse.

Time Magazine front cover.

Stone Poneys start for Linda.

Linda is sixty three today,happy birthday Linda.

Todays date is July 15th 2009,its also Linda Ronstadt's birthday,once the highest paid female rock star singer in the world,she almost became the govenor of the state of Californias wife too.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Two girls on a Camel in the Sudan

I am certain that these girls will be family to the boy with the camel,a blog picture I placed a few days back.Again the camera was my Canon FT with its super quality 200mm tele lens.
This picture is copyright to Roy McBride.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Our Optimist CNC cut panels

This is part of what comes with an Optimist kit,we optimise (no pun intended) the plys to get the best from each panel,both in lay out and strength from the grain directons.

The Gothenburg,another wooden ship we found in Hout Bay

This one was special (they all are) we knew it was expected,as it was to be welcomed into the bay to re enact the attack around 210 years back, by the French on the bays two cannon forts.When the ship came in it would start firing and then be repelled by both East and West Forts Cannons.Wow! what an event,so special,so live,so un expected,we can live a life time and never witness live cannon fire from cannon hundreds of years old.


Sunday, 12 July 2009

In the Sudan,small boy with a camel.

I took this picture on a day off while on a one year work contract in the Sudan,the boy is nomadic and his family and many animals would often pass through our farm on their travels.The camera was my Canon FT with a 200mm tele lens and Kodaks proffesional Ektachrome slide film.
Copyright is to Roy McBride